Home » London Theatre Reviews » Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts – Polka Theatre | Review

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts – Polka Theatre | Review

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts at the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, is an adaptation of the popular book of the same name. With a target age range of 6-12 year olds, this show, directed by Emily Ling Williams, is at its best in the fun and impressive physical aspects of this presentation. These include the set by Liam Bunster with splendid video and lighting effects by Gillian Tan as well as an enjoyable use of music and dance. The Polka Theatre too, as always, is a terrific and enjoyable theatre destination for younger audiences with its indoor play area, outside spaces, café and toy shop.

Sam Wu Is NOT Afraid of Ghosts. Photo credit: Steve Gregson.
Sam Wu Is NOT Afraid of Ghosts. Photo credit: Steve Gregson.

The narrative of this play however appears too flimsy to sustain interest for an hour, pace does drop as focus switches from space exploration to the domestic. The three main characters, though individually energetic and appealingly performed by Sam Liu, Kudzai Mangombe and Ed Cooke, are not easy to connect with as supposed best friends of still school age and dialogue at times does fall flat.

There are a number of references to films from the 1990s and 2000s which will be familiar to parents but maybe will not mean much to the younger elements of the show’s audience.

3 Star Review

Review by Marian Kennedy

Sam Liu Sam Wu
Kudzai Mangombe Zoe and Butterbutt the Cat
Ed Cooke Bernard and Pet Shop Owner
Yuki Sutton Lucy, Na-Na and Ralph
Daniel York Loh Spaceman Jack (on screen)

From the book by Kevin and Katie Tsang
Adapted for stage by Julie Tsang
Director Emily Ling Williams
Set and Costume Designer Liam Bunster
Lighting and Video Designer Gillian Tan
Composer and Sound Designer Holly Khan
Light Programmer Luca Panetta
Movement Direction Chi-San Howard
Puppet Maker Judith Hope
Puppet Director Roman Stefanski
Stage Manager on Book Meg Le Marchant
Assistant Stage Manager Erin Davis
Show artwork based on original illustrations by Nathan Reed

Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except he is). When a trip to the Space Museum goes terrifyingly wrong, Sam begins a mission to prove to everyone that he is a fearless space adventurer…

Adapted for stage from Katie and Kevin Tsang’s best-selling book, join Sam and his deadly pet snake sidekick as he faces his fears and tries to defeat the Ghost King once and for all at the premiere of this brand-new adventure.

Polka Theatre
Saturday 22 June to Sunday 18 August 2024


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